Rosenhouse’s Blunder: Another Nonsensical Mathematical Argument Against Intelligent Design

So here is the core of their argument:

Everything in Rosenhouse’s coin-toss analogy to natural selection manifests intelligent design. The coin is intelligently designed, the person who tosses the coin is intelligent, and the choice by the coin-tosser to re-toss only the coins that land on tails is intelligent selection.

For Rosenhouse’s analogy to point to unintelligent causes — to Darwinian natural selection — he would have to invoke the analogy that we leave a block of silver on a table by itself and wait for it to (by erosion and wind) sculpt itself into 100 coins, each of which would then spontaneously fall off the table, and the coins that landed tails up would then spontaneously (perhaps by earthquakes!) jump back up onto the table and spontaneously fall again, with this mindless but amazingly specific cycle repeating itself until all 100 coins lay heads-up on the floor (and the floor would first have to assemble itself!). This is a fine model of Darwinian natural selection — i.e., a preposterous fairytale.

As @paulbraterman puts it:

Egnore confuses the model (in this case, the coin toss) with the thing being modeled (natural selection). So it’s more like saying that since weather forecasts require intelligent design (they do), the weather is intelligently designed.

Perhaps @Jason_Rosenhouse has more to add.


There is no more to say.

Over Egnor’s head, since he probably thinks the weather is intelligently designed.


I thought Egnor’s reply was pretty silly, even for him. I would point out that even the title is nonsense. Egnor titled his piece “Another Nonsensical Mathematical Argument Against Intelligent Design.” Actually, though, I did not present any argument against ID, mathematical or otherwise. I merely pointed out that certain mathematical arguments made by ID proponents are absurd, and they are. If God Himself came down from heaven and said “Evolution is nonsense!” not one word of my article would have to be changed as a result.

Among the many silly things in Egnor’s post is this: "For Rosenhouse’s analogy to point to unintelligent causes . . " But my analogy had nothing to do with causality, intelligent or otherwise. I was making a point about probability theory. I was responding to creationist probability arguments that assume a uniform distribution on protein space or genotype space or whatever, and I was pointing out that such an assumption is ridiculous. My analogy helps to make clear why the assumption is ridiculous.


Yes, I did notice the complete absence of any mathematics at all in Egnor’s article.

I sometimes think this is a deliberate ploy on the part of the DI: It could be be that refuting a specific claim might require lies so blatant that even a DI member might balk, if they are sufficiently informed of the relevant field to realize they are lying. So, instead, someone who is absolutely clueless about the subject writes about it. In their ignorance, they won’t realize how wrong their claims are.

I usually assume something like this to be the case when they assign @CaseyLuskin to make a scientific argument.


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